Feb 14, 2014 0 Share

Community Service

Busy street with restaurant in foreground.

We just had Cody’s quarterly meeting. His caseworker told us he was not yet at his spending limit for services. She asked us if we wanted to combine the services at his day program with one-on-one services. But I must admit I was hesitant to do that given our past experience with one-on-one aides.

With previous service providers, we had staff calling us at work frequently asking us what to do even though we had care plans in place. Once, it was because the service provider didn’t share a copy of the plan with the aide. We had gone to what I feel was above and beyond the call of duty to make our own schedules of activities for Cody and his day staff, which we posted on the kitchen door. We spent money on academic supplies which would help Cody in learning math, spelling and language skills because the service provider didn’t provide any of those materials. And we also provided a special telephone setup for Cody and the staff to practice calling 911 in the case of an emergency. Only two out of six of the aides we had took the initiative to use any of the tools and verbal instructions we provided.

In addition, we often came home from work to a messy kitchen, with an aide dozing off in the recliner. One aide took Cody to the aide’s home so he could play video games during the time he was supposed to be teaching Cody life skills. This left Cody to roam around a strange house.

One aide took Cody to lunch and left the file which had all of Cody’s pertinent information, along with staff progress notes for the whole month, at the restaurant. He then refused to retrieve the file, stating that he was going out of town for the weekend. We had an aide who took Cody along to have lunch with his family—a HIPPA violation—and an aide who lied to his supervisor about our washer being broken in order to leave work early. And then there was one aide who stole a cheese slicer from us, lied about taking it, and then later said he took it home to show to his wife. Can you see why I was hesitant?

But Cody’s caseworker explained this would be different. Since part of Cody’s goals are to learn social and community skills, the mission of this one-on-one service would be to coordinate with other one-on-one staff to bring clients from his day program together for social outings. They would do the kind of fun activities friends often do together, such as going out to dinner or to the movies. Bill and I thought this would be a great idea. This would give Cody the experience of having fun with his peers without Mom and Dad hanging around. And Cody would have the opportunity to continue learning money skills in the community.

For Bill and me it would mean that no staff would be in our home unsupervised and plans would be made in advance regarding who Cody would be going out to dinner with, where they would be going and what they would be doing. And the staff is employed by the same provider where Cody attends his day program. Since we have had nothing but good things to say about the staff there over the last year, we are pretty excited about Cody having the one-on-one services this time. We are currently waiting on approval for the plan but Cody’s casework said she saw no problems with it being implemented by the first of next month.

We have been very pleased with Cody’s progress over the last year with this service provider. Participation in the program has enriched Cody’s life and we’re very excited to see what the one-on-one services they provide can do as well.